Birds of prey in Scotland will be at risk of injury or death because of a decision to allow the use of so-called “clam traps”, according to campaigners.

Wildlife organisations say the clam traps will pose an increased risk to raptors
Wildlife organisations say the clam traps will pose an increased risk to raptors

RSPB Scotland and the Scottish SPCA are among organisations which have called on Scottish Natural Heritage to reconsider its policy.

SNH has agreed to license the use of clam traps from next year.

The trap system works by snapping shut when a bird lands on a perch to feed on bait.

They are designed to capture crows and magpies, but RSPB Scotland said “non-target” species such as buzzards and sparrowhawks would also be at risk.

It is claimed larger traps could even pose a threat to golden eagles.

Duncan Orr-Ewing, of RSPB Scotland, said:

There have been many recent incidents, including some resulting in prosecutions, illustrating the widespread misuse of the current range of traps and the deliberate targeting of protected species.

“RSPB Scotland has documented 127 confirmed incidents related to the use of ‘crow’ traps over the last 10 years, including the deliberate killing of captured birds of prey, the starvation of trapped birds, and evidence of a widespread lackadaisical attitude towards adherence to current licence conditions.

“With this in mind, we are very concerned that the licensing of new, untested traps will only increase the threats faced by our raptors.”

The Chief Superintendent of the Scottish SPCA, Mike Flynn, told BBC Scotland:

“We did recommend that these clam traps should be subject to an independent, scientific trial before being licensed.

“Until such a trial has taken place, which demonstrates that these traps do not cause injury or harm to any species caught, the Scottish SPCA continues to have concerns over them.”

‘Effective tools’

The legal status of clam traps had been unclear and gamekeepers have welcomed SNH’s decision to license their use on a trial basis, arguing a wide range of species including wading birds and red squirrels will benefit.

Chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association Alex Hogg said:

“We and other land-based agencies welcome the clarity that has been provided by SNH on the matter of identifying legal traps for use.

“Clam traps have been used for the past four years with no evidence of welfare issues.

“They are used as effective tools for the protection of game birds from predation. Black grouse and waders, whose numbers are of conservation concern, have also been shown to benefit.”

Scottish Natural Heritage has pledged to monitor the use of clam traps carefully.

Ben Ross, SNH’s licensing manager, said:

“We will commission objective research on these traps; if the research shows they pose unacceptable risks, we will then prohibit them.

“We’ll also work with partners to develop a code of practice for the use of traps.”

Story by BBC © 2012



Scottish wild salmon is to join the likes of Parma ham, Melton Mowbray pork pies and champagne in becoming a protected product.

Salmon during the journey up the Tweed river in the Scottish Borders
The ruling means salmon caught in other countries cannot be called Scottish wild salmon

The fish is to be granted protected geographical indication (PGI) status, meaning it has a particular quality attributable to its place of origin.

It means salmon caught in other countries cannot be packaged, sold or advertised as Scottish wild salmon.

The ruling by the European Commission comes into effect in 20 days.

Scottish farmed salmon was awarded PGI status in 2004.

Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation chief executive Scott Landsburgh said:

“PGI status has helped to enhance the reputation of farmed salmon in major export markets.

“It is a good promotional tool and helps to protect against imitation.

“We hope the new award for Scottish wild salmon brings commercial success too.”

The salmon will join a list of about 1,000 products which are protected by the legislation, including Scottish beef and lamb.

Story by BBC 

Winter Walk

A Winter Walk Along The Bannock Burn.

Pond is frozen over on the left hand-side

I took a walk back from town and went past the swans  pond it was freezing and snow was all along the surface, there were tracks on the ice  and I think it was seagulls trying to land.

The Ochils looking very scenic

It is always nice walking in the snow its so peaceful and quiet although not much wild life about. Only the odd magpie or robin I seen in the nearby wood.

Rabbit prints

As I got to the Ladywell Park I came across some animal prints in the snow, in the distance next to the bushes I could see what left them.

Rabbits scurrying for food

As I made my way toward them, surprisingly they didn’t scamper away.


I managed to get quite close up and took some quick photos of them.

Was interesting to see the way they dug for food.


Was great to see them in this snow covered park


They didnt run away when I got near them


Swan Diary #12


It was the last day of November and the past  two days the temperatures dropped dramatically, so when I got up the sun was shining and a bike ride to the pond was a must.I rode down and ignoring the winter chill made my way along the Bannockburn path to the Swans Pond.

Continue reading “Swan Diary #12”